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Transition and the Education of the New South African Citizen

Hammett, D.; Staeheli, L.A.

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D. Hammett

L.A. Staeheli


South Africa’s democratic transition was a time of optimism, with immense hopes pinned on the youth who would be educated to see themselves as equal citizens. It was also a time of pragmatic decision making, not least in the education sector, which would shape the future of the country. Negotiating the imperatives of redress, development, and equality set in train many contradictory pressures within the education sector, within which teachers were tasked with instilling ideals of equality and social justice amidst a context shaped by entrenched social and spatial inequalities. Policy debates surrounding the meaning of citizenship and equality are shown to be removed from the everyday classroom challenges in South Africa. In particular, realization of the values of citizen education is hindered by differential resourcing of schools and education, the underlying poverty experienced by many students, and the challenge of finding ways to talk about difference and inequality without recourse to racialized explanations. These constraints act to limit the possibility of education as a site in which the new South African nation is (re)produced.


Hammett, D., & Staeheli, L. (2013). Transition and the Education of the New South African Citizen. Comparative Education Review, 57(2), 309-331.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2013
Deposit Date Feb 14, 2013
Publicly Available Date Jan 10, 2014
Journal Comparative Education Review
Print ISSN 0010-4086
Electronic ISSN 1545-701X
Publisher The University of Chicago Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Issue 2
Pages 309-331


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